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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    Portland and Maupin, Oregon
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    Default Drift boat fishing

    Do you prefer to fish for trout casting from the boat or to use the boat for access, getting out to wade and fish?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Pinedale, WY
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    Default Re: Drift boat fishing

    I do both, but prefer using the boat for access, then getting out and wading the best locations!
    Larry


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  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    Tucson, AZ
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    Default Re: Drift boat fishing

    Quote Originally Posted by mcnerney View Post
    I do both, but prefer using the boat for access, then getting out and wading the best locations!
    Totally agree.
    Adoption is Amazing

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  6. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    Colorado
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    Default Re: Drift boat fishing

    Good question Dillon - In my experience only, your mileage may vary...I think that it is entirely based on the water being fished and personal preference at the time....a boat offers access in many cases to water that could not reasonably be reached (too deep or fast to wade in sections, to far to reach on foot in a reasonable timeframe, within a steep canyon, little to no access via shore, private property areas abutting the water, etc. etc.)...and with someone good on the sticks and ability to anchor, it can give you options you wouldn't otherwise have available....there are places a boat can cover that are simply too deep or swift or both to safely wade...and offer the ability to fish these from the boat, it also offers great and usually quicker access to reach areas where you then can wade.....if an area is very productive, hatches are reliable and in full bloom, and/or may require working it for a longer period of time...anchoring off, getting out and wade fishing is, no doubt, superior to drifting through the area, even slowly, and with someone skilled on the sticks, boats simply don't have a very good reverse gear. Personally, I like boats on certain water for access purposes, but really enjoy the more engaged aspects of stalking and wading. I guided, and I always felt boats covered a lot of water and put clients on more fishing areas in an outing than solely wading, however, I also always felt there were fewer opportunities to fish the water thoroughly casting from a boat when it's far more hurried while passing through various sections of water....I think there is a nice compromise to be found....boat access to productive water (fish along the way if desired), exit, wade, and enjoy with no time constraint,....reload, repeat next stop. From a guides mind...fishing for wages and tips, you cover most water possible for most opportunities.... conversely, if they are fishing for themselves, or with seasoned and familiar clients, or friends, there is a good chance my above spoken compromise will likely be in play. Luckily, boats don't enforce specific usage rules and we have the freedom to use them as we alone desire....guess this is one of those questions that has no right or wrong answer and further has that personal preference quotient and "it depends" half dozen variables factor as well.

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  8. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    Portland and Maupin, Oregon
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    Default Re: Drift boat fishing

    Very well stated, cooutlaw. I have a driftboat that I use for floating my local steelhead streams. We always get out and fish, as we step cast runs, swinging flies with Spey rods. On my home trout/steelhead river, the Deschutes, fishing from a floating device is not allowed. My favorite trips there are guided on the Warm Springs Reservation. One must have a guide for access and may choose between floating or driving along the river on dirt roads in a 4 wheel drive monstrous truck. We always take the truck as it can go in both river directions.

    I've towed the boat on our annual trout trip to Id/mt. Although it has offered some great access it doesn't seem worth it for many of the reasons you mentioned. The way we fish requires getting out of the boat or dropping the anchor. We aren't great oarsmen and pulling on that anchor rope all day is pretty hard work. However, we have enjoyed some great fun taking turns casting to risers from the boat. It really facilitates working together and learning from each other. Seldom do we have that experience when wading. It's more like parallel play as we each usually focus on our own fish, sometimes a great distance apart.

    So, the solution has been to have three guys to share the work and rent a boat where they are available. Those adipose rentals are pretty nice and my clackacraft model is not designed for trout fishing. However, hiring a guide to do all the work would be the best option. They know where all the fish are feeding too. By the time we spot them it's usually too late to drop the hook.

    i just wondered how others felt about it. You nailed it, imho. Boats are fun, but the answer to my own question is really to walk in and wade. My boat has been sitting in storage for a couple or three years. But, I do hope to get out on a winter float at least once this year...

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  10. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Default Re: Drift boat fishing

    We are all different, but me? I found that slinging flies from a moving boat injects a level of stress, hurry and excitement into fishing that I did not like at my first experience with it. I've used boats, various types including drift boats for fishing since 1983 and always preferred them as the 'way' and not the 'means' or is that the other way around...……………….

    I have however seen circumstances where I floated a river and it became acutely clear that the only way my passenger could fish certain spots was from the boat. I tended to bookmark those spots and forewarn the fisherman ahead of time what they had to do when we got there. In some currents the guy doing the casting gets one or 2 shots at the honey hole and that's it because you had to use way too much time rowing back up to drift it again.

    Now days I only fish from drift boats if they belong to someone else and because of the style of fishing (Spey rods & streamers) we float and park all the way down the river.

    Anywhere can be the land of great expectations, broken dreams, or paradise found, it's all up to you.

    Life On The Line - Alaska Fishing with Ard
    Ard's Forum blog, Alaska Outdoors

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  12. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Isle of Lewis, UK.
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    640

    Default Re: Drift boat fishing

    Thanks for posing the question, dillon, it's made for an interesting read to a man largely ignorant of your 'drift fishing'. It's something we do on lochs, lakes and reservoirs rather than rivers - probably much to do with traditional land ownership / riparian rights limiting river access to a few miles at a time in the UK while you guys are freer to roam.
    I was very fortunate to drift the Deschutes with an ex-guide once, somewhere north of Redmond in salmon fly season. I hooked up on my first or second cast but blanked after that. It was a memorable day nevertheless and my host was good company. I remain indebted. I didn't realise (or had forgotten) that one had to wade there - which is what we did, of course.

    Is harling practiced anywhere in N.A.? There's a good description of the method here - although a motor helps, oars and a good boatman did the same job for decades before. Not something I've yet tried myself.

    Another method I've come across, and one I have gillied myself, is walking a boat down a pool and/or letting it down a few yards at a time from an anchored rope.
    In the first instance the guest would Spey or overhead from a seated position in the stern while the gillie, standing in the river, walks the boat down the pool, holding onto the gunwales for dear life, giving the rod a few casts before dropping down a few paces more. It was a method really reserved for well-liked, elderly guests who were finding the wading difficult. It does need a swivel seat for the angler, though, or they tend to complain of a twisted back after a few hours 'on the plank'.

    Letting down on a rope is easier on the gillie who stays in the boat, regularly paying out a metre or two of rope at intervals and using an oar as a rudder to swing the boat across a pool (thole pins essential!) when advantageous. The rope is stored in figure of eight wraps on 'bull horns' mounted on the prow. This method is definitely easier on the guide but causes more disturbance to a pool. Not only is there the rope, maybe 60 yards+ of it, there can be noise from the anchor setting or slipping and, of course, the gillie has to pull the boat back up the pool once it's been fished through.

    However, both methods do allow a pool to be fished thoroughly and the second often by overheading when the water is too deep or fast for the first method to get clear of bankside greenery. They also have big advantages for the infirm and inexperienced, giving both space behind and (relative) safety. I've had some giggles getting my old boys in and out of the boat though - thankfully no bones broken yet!

    I'm sure you guys must do similarly Stateside when conditions dictate?

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  14. Default Re: Drift boat fishing

    We drift fish from the boat and rarely get out. Often times the tailwaters I fish you can't get out. Sometimes we do anchor up and fish but that's because I want to fish and usually the other person can't row or because it's just a honey hole where we can sit in the boat and catch a bunch of fish.

    I very rarely wade fish anymore. Just feel like I can't cover enough water wading.

    Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk

  15. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Farmington, ill. -Stop by for a cold beer on your way thru
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    Default Re: Drift boat fishing

    I prefer the boat. Nothing better than getting that long 100-150 ft drift with the hopper 4 inches from the bank waiting for the water to explode or slamming thru the deeper canyon sections picking and popping every rock cushion, eddy, or seam and quickly picking back up and hitting the next one and the next one and the next one. Just talking about it makes me want to call the fly shop and make a reservation

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  17. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Ontario, Canada
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    579

    Default Re: Drift boat fishing

    Ill be getting a raft this summer, and it's primary purpose will be to anchor up above pools to swing flies through. A lot of areas around me have steep drop-offs from the bank and no access by foot, and can not be waded so for this fishing out of a boat makes sense.
    Danny

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